As part of the University of Michigan’s (U-M) Office of the Provost’s Anti-Racism Initiatives, the National Center for Institutional Diversity’s (NCID) Anti-Racism Collaborative welcomes proposals for Research Seed Grants to Advance Anti-Racism. Grants in the range of $5,000-$20,000 to support innovative diversity scholarship designed to inform and support social action will be available.

Our broad theme is “Anti-Racism and Precedents for Action.” For this call, anti-racism refers to coordinated action against power relationships that perpetuate white supremacy and attendant hierarchies of race (Crenshaw, 1989; Cox, 1948). Our objective is to fund projects that focus on marginalized, grassroots and collaborative forms of anti-racist action with the potential to transform how we resist structural racism and how we relate to each other as racialized subjects. 

We see opportunities to translate the present momentum around anti-racism into sustainable precedents for action. We actively seek proposals that advance knowledge about:

  • The types of experiences, encounters, programs and interventions that contribute to anti-racist action.
  • The strategies and models for organizing that demonstrate effectiveness in anti-racist movements.
  • The ways that anti-racism is embodied, performed or represented in the visual and performing arts. 
  • Documentation of anti-racist efforts and their effectiveness across social contexts.

Competitive proposals will describe processes and outcomes that help us to better understand anti-racism and the possibility of anti-racist action, that make meaningful connections between anti-racist and related activist traditions, and/or that identify barriers to anti-racist organizing and actions. While our interest in power relationships that perpetuate white supremacy is foundational to the call, we welcome broad perspectives on anti-racism, prior to and in parallel with the concept’s current popularity. 

Competitive proposals will be led by PIs who have demonstrated experience leading or actively participating in anti-racist research and scholarship prior to this submission. We encourage substantive participation or leadership roles for member(s) of the racialized groups or those most vulnerable to the racialized experience that motivates the project’s scope.


Faculty across tracks and research staff at any U-M campus and in any discipline are eligible as primary or co-investigators. Individuals may only serve as primary or co-investigator on one proposal.


Grants between $5,000-$20,000 will be awarded for late summer/fall/spring research projects. To facilitate this grants program, two funding tracks will be utilized to facilitate this grants program.

Small Grants Program (up to $10,000)

Smaller grants are intended to support innovative inquiry into localized, time bound anti-racist interventions. This could include studies or evaluations of anti-racist literature, policy, algorithms, practices, curriculum, programming, short-term campaigns or direct action, and other interactions that reveal how anti-racist action is being organized, enacted and embodied in diverse communities in this particular moment.

Large Grants Program (up to $20,000)

Larger grants are intended to seed new projects or preliminary studies, or extend or enhance ongoing research that aligns with the call. This could include expanding a data set, increasing samples of research participants to allow for equitable representation or greater ecological validity. Projects that include community partners (as appropriate for the focus and scope of the projects) should do so in meaningful and ethically engaged ways, and with appropriate supports from the project plan and budget. The objective is to more fully integrate meaningful engagement with anti-racist action into the body of research and scholarship produced across campuses.

Graduate Student Support Subsidy (up to $5,000)

Applicants can also apply for up to $5,000 in subsidy funds to support graduate students involved on the project. Subsidies can support stipends or hourly pay (e.g. stipend for uncovered spring/summer periods). Subsidies cannot cover tuition. Applicants must provide a thoughtful mentoring and professional development plan for graduate students supported by the subsidy. Attach a maximum one page narrative detailing the mentoring and professional development plan for graduate student(s) involved with the project, including a budget. Incorporate anti-racist principles as relevant and appropriate.

Application Process

Change grant applications are due August 16, 2021. Awards will be announced in late September 2021. 

Grant applications should be no more than 6 single spaced pages, excluding references. We strongly encourage applicants to emphasize the anti-racist framing or tradition that motivates their project’s intention and design. Grant applications should include the following, organized with clear section headings to support a thorough review process:

  1. A statement of the topic, research question or intention of the project.
  2. A rationale for the project, supported by an appropriate anti-racist framework and review of literature or precedent.
  3. A review of the methods or means of the project. This should include summaries of protocol to minimize or repair harm in the design, implementation and project closure.
  4. A positionality statement, noting the dispositional, methodological and logistic expertise and experience to lead the proposed project.
  5. A list of three potential sources of future support for the project, OR indication that the pressing social issue will be resolved by the close of the project.
  6. A tentative timeline for the project with supporting rationale for activities. 
  7. A tentative budget for the project with supporting rationale for line items.
  8. A completed NCID logic model form.
  9. A biosketch that corresponds to expectations for a relevant federal grant competition, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the National Endowment for the Humanities OR an abbreviated resume/CV (no more than two pages) and brief bio (no more than 250 words each) for each investigator, organizer, performer or research staff member. These documents do not count toward the application page limit.

Review Process

There could be lots of ways that innovative scholarship could support "change" or social action - from research that addresses important omissions or inaccuracies of knowledge/perspective on marginalized communities that have unfortunately shaped policy/practice; to community participatory research where the research is co-constructed and/or applied; to research on mechanisms of innovative programs, practices, or interventions; etc. 

Competitive applications include:

  • A topic, research question or overall intention reflecting a pressing social issue that aligns with anti-racist organizing, scholarship and/or performance.
  • A clear, appropriately supported conceptual, empirical, philosophical or theoretical framework explicitly grounded in an identifiable anti-racist tradition.
  • Protocol to minimize or repair harm in the design, implementation, closure and dissemination of the research.
  • Beyond appropriate IRB approvals, the proposal affords attention to the well-being and representation of research participants throughout the research process. Principles of care, mutual benefit and power-sharing should clearly undergird methodological and logistic decisions.
  • After data collection and analysis have concluded, this could look like supporting research participants to access and benefit from new knowledge, recognition for participation in appropriate ways, and ensuring that all research products advance the dignity and humanity of those involved.
  • Appropriateness of budget for proposed activities.
  • An appropriate budget is feasible, and demonstrates both practical and socially responsible stewardship of funds.
  • An appropriate budget is inclusive, and equitably or radically compensates exploited professional identities (including adjunct faculty, temporary staff and graduate students) for their leadership and contributions. Please consider applying for the Graduate Student Support subsidy as one way to further develop this component of the application.
  • An appropriate budget is reparative, with funds allocated to support the meaningful or radical inclusion of historically vulnerable research participants.

Funding Decisions and Period

Funding decisions will take place in September 2021 and funds must be used within one year of receipt.

Administration of Fund

Grant recipients are responsible for working with the NCID staff to arrange for good stewardship of the funds. Funds may be used for salary (for faculty, full-time or temp staff; no more than 50% of the budget should go towards salary), travel to research or action sites, supplies, and other expenses related to the research needs (no more than 50% of the budget should go towards travel).

Note: All projects must adhere to U-M and school/college research and financial rules and guidelines at all times, and be done in accordance with any COVID-related spending restrictions at the time of the project.

Ineligible Expenses

Budget proposals should NOT include:

  • Travel expenses not directly related to research/scholarship activity
  • Equipment
  • Curricular development

Award amounts are final. Each award stipulates an expiration date, after which any balance remaining is returned to the NCID. Awardees may not retain the monies if they leave the University of Michigan.

Reporting Guidelines

Grant recipients will be expected to participate in NCID organized activities focused on disseminating information on funded research projects (e.g., give a talk based on a project at an NCID/Collaborative event, participate on a panel, lead informal coffee discussion, contribute to an NCID publication). NCID will support awardees in determining the best format for their project.

Applicants who receive funding must agree to complete three brief check-in surveys over the course of the grant, and to submit a final report within 60 days of the end of the funding period (report template will be provided). 

Any changes in budget items or project period must first be approved by the NCID.


Please direct questions to

Works Cited

Crenshaw, K. (1989). Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum 8, 139.

Cromwell, O.C. (1948). Caste, Class, and Race: A Study in Social Dynamics. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc.